May 02 2007

Birmingham police get $1 million gunfire detector

Birmingham Business Journal

The city of Birmingham recently received a $1 million federal grant to implement a sensory system that will detect where gunfire is going off and help speed public safety response to incidents.

The U.S. Department of Justice grant, secured by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, will pay for a ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System that will provide law enforcement officers with real-time notification of gunshot events, complete with an audio file.

Through a telephone-based sensor system, information can be captured for forensic and intelligence analysis, including weapon type, direction of fire and location of drive-by shooters on the move.

Birmingham's system is being delivered through a contract with the South Carolina Research Authority and will cover more than six square miles.

Birmingham Police Chief Annetta W. Nunn said in a news release the technology, along with community support, will improve the quality of life for residents in the area where it will be deployed. She did not specify which area.

"We must work to ensure that law enforcement has the most technologically advanced tools available to combat violent crime," Shelby said. "The ShotSpotter system will provide the Birmingham Police Department with the ability to quickly pinpoint gunfire and move to arrest the offenders."

ShotSpotter claims agencies using its system have reported a 50 percent increase in gunfire-related arrests and a 30 percent drop in violent crime rates.

Copyright 2007